Laettner: '91 UNLV Team Better Than '92 Kentucky

Christian Laettner was "scared" of both teams, but UNLV was tougher "to overcome," he says

The DA Show
March 05, 2019 - 12:09 pm

Christian Laettner is one of the greatest college basketball players of all time. He holds numerous NCAA records, helped Duke to four Final Fours, and led the Blue Devils to back-to-back national titles in 1991 and 1992, beating Kansas and Michigan, respectively, in the championship.

Perhaps their most memorable wins from those runs, however, came before the title game. Duke beat previously unbeaten UNLV in the Final Four in 1991 and Kentucky in the Elite Eight in 1992.

Which of those teams was better?

“I would say probably the ’91 UNLV team,” Laettner said on The DA Show. “They were 36-0, they won the championship the year before – they were probably a little bit better of a team. Now, both teams scared me. I was worried about both teams before the game. I always hated playing against teams that scored a lot of points – and we all know the Runnin’ Rebels scored a lot of points, and we all know that Kentucky team in ’92, they scored a lot of points.”

Laettner, of course, hit one of most iconic buzzer-beaters in basketball history against Kentucky to give Duke a 104-103 win.

“It’s like they didn’t even care if you scored,” Laettner said. “They just wanted to run down and shoot a three-pointer and score right back at you. Those types of teams always put a lot of fear in me when I was playing at Duke. Both of those games were incredibly tough, but I would say the toughest one for us to overcome was the UNLV team because they beat us by 30 the year before.”

Duke finished 29-9 in 1990 before going 66-9 in their national-title seasons, including 34-2 in 1992.

“When I was a senior and we were at Duke, we were like rock stars that year,” Laettner said. “Kentucky happened to play a great game, and they were a great team that year. But that UNLV team in ’91, they were really tough.”